Classroom Poem


My back to the small lecture hall

and its now quiet swivel chairs

only the hum of the fluorescents dimming

I followed my hand with my eyes

as I wiped the shiny white surface clean of the red dri-erase marker

making new shapes as my hand passed through letters I’d drawn,

and arrows, underlines doubled,

thinking as my hand moved what they might have thought

having read little of the novel, perhaps only knowing

the parts I’d sung out to them with so much joy—and now my joy

                          was just mine

and for some reason all I could think was happy happy happy

to be in that room, loving having taught more than teaching,

knowing the air it had left in the room better even than other knowledge—

how to explain the silvery strain their boredom or wonder

had left in my lungs, in the stretch of my torso

as I reached to wipe the uppermost notes clear

as if also wiping clear the me who had longed once

to be in that place in which I now stood.

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